Maps and Apps: Google Just Made a Huge Jump Into the Auto Industry

September 18, 2018, 11:15 AM UTC

Google just made a huge inroad into the car industry.

The Alphabet subsidiary signed a deal with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance (RNSDF) to provide in-car infotainment systems that run on the Android operating system. The Google-powered media display will be in cars starting in 2021. Together, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance sells more cars than any other auto maker, with combined sales of 10.6 million vehicles last year and 5.5 million in the first half of this year.

The deal is a victory for Google (GOOGL). The company’s maps and apps will see smooth integration in a space where car makers have struggled to create user-friendly interfaces but have also been reluctant to cede territory to tech companies for fear of losing valuable customer data. Under the terms of the deal, Google will have access to data generated through the car units, but can only collect it with permission from the customer.

It’s also a symbolic victory for Google Maps, bringing it one step closer to being the standard mapping software. Particularly in the realm of cars, Google faces dozens of challengers looking to unseat the 20-year-old company.

The deal puts pressure on Google and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi’s competitors to improve their services and consider similar deals. Shares in the satellite navigation company TomTom (TMOAY), which provides mapping services similar to Google’s, fell by nearly a quarter when the deal was announced.